US crosses ‘tragic milestone’ of one million deaths from Covid

Washington DC, United States.- The United States passed 1 million deaths from Covid-19 on Thursday according to a tally by Reuters and the White House, crossing a once-unthinkable milestone some two years after the first cases.

President Joe Biden, recognizing ‘the tragic milestone’, ordered the US flag to be flown at half-staff in all public places and in Embassies and Consulates.

“Today, we mark a tragic milestone: one million American lives lost to Covid-19,” Biden said in a statement.

“A million empty chairs around the dining room table. Each one an irreplaceable loss. Each one leaving behind a family, a community, and a Nation forever changed by this pandemic.”

The 1 million mark is a stark reminder of the staggering pain and loss caused by the pandemic, even as the threat posed by the virus fades in many people’s minds. It accounts for about one death for every 327 Americans, or more than the entire population of San Francisco or Seattle.

When the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Covid-19 a global pandemic on March 11, 2020, the virus had claimed 36 lives in the United States. In the months that followed, the deadly virus spread, finding fertile ground in densely populated urban areas like New York and then reaching every corner of the country.

By June 2020, the US death toll had surpassed the country’s total military deaths in World War I and would exceed US military losses from World War II by January 2021, when more than 405,000 deaths were recorded. .

The disease has left few places on Earth untouched, with 6.7 million confirmed deaths worldwide. The real number, including those who died from Covid-19 and those who died as an indirect result of the outbreak, is probably closer to 15 million, the WHO said.

Some of the images associated with death from Covid are forever etched in the collective mind of Americans: refrigerated trucks parked outside hospitals overflowing with the dead; intubated patients in sealed intensive care units; exhausted doctors and nurses who battled each wave of the virus.

Millions of Americans eagerly rolled up their sleeves for Covid vaccines after distribution began in late 2020. By early 2021, the virus had already claimed a staggering 500,000 lives.

At one point in January of that year, more people died from Covid-19 every day on average than died in the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Covid-19 took advantage of the elderly and people with health problems, but it did not spare healthy young people either, killing more than a thousand children. Researchers estimate that 213,000 children in the United States lost at least one parent or primary caregiver during the pandemic, taking an immeasurable emotional toll.

While settling in big cities, the coronavirus has also devastated rural communities with limited access to health care.

The pandemic had a disproportionate impact on Native American and communities of color. It hit hardest where people lived in congregate settings, like prisons, decimating entire families. It exposed deep-seated inequalities in American society and unleashed a wave of change that affected most aspects of life in America.

With the threat of Covid-19 receding after Omicron’s wave last winter, many Americans have taken off their masks and returned to offices in recent weeks. Restaurants and bars are bustling with customers again, and public attention has shifted to inflation and economic concerns.

But researchers are already working on another booster shot as the virus continues to mutate.

“It’s by no means over,” America’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said at a recent event. “We are still experiencing a global pandemic.”

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